nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2017‒12‒18
nineteen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Vietnamese State-owned Enterprises under International Economic Integration By FUJITA Mai
  2. Quality of Growth and Poverty Incidence in Low Income Countries: The Role of Manufacturing By Sarah Lynne S. Daway; Geoffrey M. Ducanes; Raul V. Fabella
  3. Productivity and Wage Premiums: Evidence from Vietnamese Ordinary and Processing Exporters By Mai T.P. Vu; Flora Bellone; Marion Dovis
  4. The Origins of Cultural Divergence: Evidence from a Developing Country By Ho, Hoang-Anh; Martinsson, Peter; Olsson, Ola
  5. Market implications of the integration scenario of Southeast Asian rice markets By Gen Furuhashi; Hubertus Gay
  6. Segmentation and informality in Vietnam: A survey of the literature By Jean-Pierre Cling; Mireille Razafindrakoto; François Roubaud
  7. Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America By Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria; Mark Wright; Lee Ohanian
  8. Is the Thai Government Revenue-Spending Nexus Asymmetric? By Jiranyakul, Komain
  9. One Mandarin benefits the whole clan: hometown favoritism in an authoritarian regime By Do, Quoc-Anh; Nguyen, Kieu-Trang; Tran, Anh N.
  10. Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior: Evidence from the Emerging Asian Middle Class By Antonia Grohmann
  11. Asymmetric effects of exchange rate changes on the Malaysia-China commodity trade By Bahmani-Oskooee, Mohsen; Aftab, Muhammad
  13. Capital Structure in Emerging Asia By Vidhan K. Goyal; Frank Packer
  14. Technologietransfer und Spillovereffekte ausländischer Tochterunternehmen in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern By Christoph Schmierer
  15. M-Estimation of a Nonparametric Threshold Regression Model By Daniel J. Henderson; Christopher F. Parmeter; Liangjun Su
  16. Online Red Packets: A Large-scale Empirical Study of Gift Giving on WeChat By Yuan Yuan; Tracy Xiao Liu; Chenhao Tan; Jie Tang
  17. Efficient creativity in Mexican metropolitan areas By Benita, Francisco; Urzúa, Carlos M.
  18. "Excess Capacity and Effectiveness of Policy Interventions: Evidence from the Cement Industry" By Tetsuji Okazaki; Ken Onishi; Naoki Wakamori

  1. By: FUJITA Mai
    Abstract: This paper examines the progress and outcomes of state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms under international economic integration in Vietnam. While the literature has focused primarily on strategic SOEs that have been largely treated as exceptions under international commitments or domestic reforms, the paper focuses on the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), a major SOE group in the textile and garment (T&G) industry in which the impact of international economic integration was expected to be substantial. The main findings are as follows. First, unlike large-scale SOEs in strategic sectors that receive the most attention in the literature, the transformation of Vinatex in terms of ownership, organization, policy roles, and relationship with the state, albeit incomplete, has made significant progress. Second, nevertheless, there are indications that Vinatex's relationship with the state and its non-commercial roles may continue in subtle and indirect forms. Third, with the entry and growth of foreign-invested and domestic private enterprises, both SOEs and Vinatex have lost shares in the T&G industry. However, some Vinatex members stay among the country's top garment exporters, successfully competing with their foreign-invested rivals. These findings suggest the recent realities of Vietnamese SOEs that are increasingly hybrid, similar to those in many other countries.
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Sarah Lynne S. Daway (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman); Geoffrey M. Ducanes (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman); Raul V. Fabella (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: There has been a growing conversation about the revival of Manufacturing to push back growing inequality and reduce poverty. We discuss the pathways by which a higher share of the Manufacturing sector in GDP may bring about lower poverty incidence while a higher share of Services may have the opposite effect. We first compare the poverty reduction experiences of the Philippines whose growth has been largely Services-led in the last two decades with that of China and Vietnam, whose growth have, for the most part, been Manufacturing-led. We then present evidence based on cross-country panel data for low income countries that the Manufacturing share in GDP exhibits a significant negative association with poverty incidence while the higher Services share exhibits a significant positive association with poverty incidence. Low income countries seeking more inclusive growth may do better if they privilege their Manufacturing sector over the Services sector.
    Keywords: quality of growth; low income countries; poverty incidence; industrial structure; manufacturing; services
    JEL: O14 I3 O5
    Date: 2017–12
  3. By: Mai T.P. Vu (Foreign Trade University); Flora Bellone (Université Côte d'Azur; GREDEG CNRS); Marion Dovis (Aix-Marseille University; GREQAM)
    Abstract: We propose some new stylized facts on Vietnamese exporters that emphasize firm heterogeneity in trade regimes and firm ownership. We show first that the distribution of firms export intensities is U-shaped with more than half of Vietnamese exporters exporting more than 50% of their output. This contrasts with the export patterns in industrialized countries but is similar to the export intensity distribution for other emerging economies with strong participation in global value chains. Second, we show that export premia, evaluated in terms of both productivity and wage indexes, are positive only for Vietnamese exporters involved primarily in ordinary trade, and that processing exporters exhibit lower productivity indexes and pay lower wages than their non-exporting counterparts. This pattern is more pronounced among the group of foreign-owned firms in Vietnam compared to the group of domestic firms and is in line with previous ndings for China.
    Keywords: Processing trade, wage, firm productivity, firm-level data, Vietnam
    JEL: F10 F14 L60
    Date: 2017–12
  4. By: Ho, Hoang-Anh (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Martinsson, Peter (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Olsson, Ola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Cultural norms diverge substantially across societies, often even within the same country. In the present paper, we study the voluntary settlement hypothesis, proposing that individualistic people tend to self-select into migrating out of reach from collectivist states towards the periphery and that such patterns of historical migration are reflected even in the contemporary distribution of norms. During most of the first millennium CE, the modern north of Vietnam was under an exogenously imposed Chinese rule. From the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries, historical Vietnam gradually expanded its territory to the Mekong River Delta through various waves of conquest and migration. In contrast to some recent research, we find very little support from historical sources for any major discontinuities in this territorial expansion. Combining archives with household survey and lab-in-the-field experiment, we demon- strate that areas being annexed earlier into historical Vietnam are nowadays more (less) prone to collectivist (individualist) culture. We argue that the southward out-migration of individualistic people was the main mechanism behind this finding, which is also in line with many historical accounts.
    Keywords: Culture; Individualism-Collectivism; Voluntary Settlement
    JEL: N45 O53 Z13
    Date: 2017–12
  5. By: Gen Furuhashi (OECD); Hubertus Gay (OECD)
    Abstract: This paper explores how the integration of rice markets in ASEAN countries influences the import, export, production, consumption, and prices of rice in those countries, as well as in the rest of the world. The analysis describes current policies applied to ASEAN rice markets, then evaluates the ten-year impacts of two reform scenarios using the OECD-FAO Aglink-Cosimo model. The first scenario involves the elimination of tariffs within the region, while protection vis-à-vis countries outside the region remains unchanged. The second scenario involves closer price integration across the region, again with protection versus countries outside the region unchanged. The analysis finds that opening up the regional trade market will lead to greater overall production, consumption and trade across the region. The overall welfare gains are over fifteen times higher with full price integration, as opposed to just tariff reform. Significant price changes create winners and losers within all countries, underscoring the need for complementary policies to accompany a rice market integration agenda.
    Keywords: partial equilibrium model, self-sufficiency, Tariffs
    JEL: Q10 Q11 Q17 Q18
    Date: 2017–12–12
  6. By: Jean-Pierre Cling (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Mireille Razafindrakoto (LEDa - Université Paris Dauphine (Paris 9)); François Roubaud (LEDa - Université Paris Dauphine (Paris 9))
    Abstract: Labour market segmentation is usually defined as the division of the labour markets into separate submarkets or segments, distinguished by different characteristics and behavioural rules (incomes, contracts, etc.). The economic debate on the segmentation issue has been focusing in developed countries, and especially in Europe, on contractual segmentation and dualism. However, in developing countries such as Vietnam which is the focus of this study, wage work is marginal and the approach to labour market segmentation is necessarily slightly different. Indeed, most workers are engaged in the informal economy and many of them are self-employed in their own household business. Starting with an analysis of the main characteristics of the national labour market, this paper presents a survey of the literature on informality and labour market segmentation in Vietnam (section 2). Section 3 describes the institutional background related to firm registration and social protection in Vietnam, and analyses the reasons for informality in relationship with the institutional framework. Section 4 describes the reforms being put in place and employment strategies related to the informal economy. Policy recommendations are proposed in the last section.
    Abstract: La segmentation sur le marché du travail est usuellement définie comme la coexistence de deux segments ou secteurs qui se distinguent par leurs caractéristiques et les comportements qui y prévalent (niveau de revenus, contrats, etc.). Le débat économique sur la segmentation s’est focalisé dans les pays développés, et en particulier en Europe, sur le dualisme résultant des contrats. Cependant, dans les pays en développement comme le Vietnam, les emplois salariés étant marginaux, la segmentation sur le marché du travail doit nécessairement être appréhendée de manière différente. La majorité des emplois relève de l’économie informelle et une grande partie est constituée d’auto-emploi dans des entreprises individuelles. Partant d’une analyse des principales caractéristiques du marché du travail national, ce document présente ensuite une revue de la littérature sur l’informalité et la segmentation sur le marché du travail au Vietnam (section 2). La section 3 décrit le cadre institutionnel en matière d’enregistrement et de protection sociale au Vietnam, et analyse les raisons de l’informalité. La section 4 examine les réformes qui ont été mises en place et les stratégies en termes d’emploi touchant l’économie informelle. Enfin, des recommandations politiques sont proposées dans la dernière section.
    Keywords: segmentation,Labour market,Informality,Vietnam,Informel,marché du travail
    Date: 2017–12–01
  7. By: Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria (Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis); Mark Wright (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago); Lee Ohanian (University of California Los Angeles)
    Abstract: Since 1950, the economies of East Asia grew rapidly but received little international capital, while Latin America received considerable international capital even as their economies stagnated. The literature typically explains the failure of capital to flow to high growth regions as resulting from international capital market imperfections. This paper proposes a broader thesis that country-specific distortions, such as domestic labor and capital market distortions, also impact capital flows. We develop a DSGE model of Asia, Latin America, and the Rest of the World that features an open-economy business cycle accounting framework to measure these domestic and international distortions, and to quantify their contributions to international capital flows. We find that domestic distortions have been the predominant drivers of international capital flows, and that the general equilibrium effects of these distortions are very large. International capital market distortions also matter, but less so.
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Jiranyakul, Komain
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between government revenue and spending in Thailand using a nonlinear framework. Both TAR and MTAR models are estimated. The empirical results from the estimate of the TAR model show the presence of asymmetry in the long-run relationship between revenue and spending. The results of short-run dynamics indicate that both revenue and spending respond to budgetary disequilibrium when there is improving government budget. Furthermore, bidirectional causality is found. The evidence appears to support the fiscal synchronization hypothesis with asymmetric adjustment towards the long-run equilibrium. This finding implies that policymakers should cut deficits when they exceed the threshold level.
    Keywords: Government revenue and expenditures, TAR, MTAR, synchronization hypothesis
    JEL: C32 E62
    Date: 2017–12
  9. By: Do, Quoc-Anh; Nguyen, Kieu-Trang; Tran, Anh N.
    Abstract: We study patronage politics in authoritarian Vietnam, using an exhaustive panel of ranking officials from 2000 to 2010 to estimate their promotions’ impact on infrastructure in their hometowns of patrilineal ancestry. Native officials’ promotions lead to a broad range of hometown infrastructure improvement. Hometown favoritism is pervasive across all ranks, even among officials without budget authority, except among elected legislators. Favors are narrowly targeted toward small communes that have no political power, and are strengthened with bad local governance and strong local family values. The evidence suggests a likely motive of social preferences for hometown.
    JEL: J1 N0
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Antonia Grohmann
    Abstract: This paper analyses financial literacy and financial behavior of middle class people living an urban Asian economy. Other than most papers on financial literacy that focus on people in developed countries, we surveyed people living Bangkok. Using standard financial literacy questions, we find that financial literacy levels are largely comparable to industrialized countries, but understanding of more advanced financial concepts is lower. Similarly, savings accounts are held by most people, but more sophisticated products are a lot less common. We further show, in line with the literature, that higher financial literacy leads to improved financial decision making.
    Keywords: Financial literacy, Saving, Borrowing, Household finance
    JEL: D14 G11 D91
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Bahmani-Oskooee, Mohsen; Aftab, Muhammad
    Abstract: Previous research that considered the response of the trade balance between Malaysia and China to exchange rate changes used a linear model and did not find any significant long-run link. Suspecting that the results suffer from aggregation bias as well as ignoring nonlinear adjustment of the exchange rate, we consider the trade balance of 59 industries that trade between the two countries and use a nonlinear ARDL model to show that almost 1/3rd of the industries are affected by ringgit depreciation against yuan, in an asymmetric manner. The largest industry which accounts for more than 25% of the trade is found to benefit from ringgit depreciation but not hurt from appreciation. In total, 15 industries that account for 40% of the trade enjoy this property.
    Keywords: Nonlinear ARDL, Asymmetry, 65 Industries, Malaysia, China
    JEL: F1 F3
    Date: 2017–02–13
  12. By: Malmström Rognes, Åsa (Department of Economic History, Uppsala University & The European Institute of Japanese Studies)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the AIIB; its mandate, resources, governance and how it compares to the other multilateral development banks operating in Asia. When China proposed a new multilateral development bank in Asia devoted to infrastructure, there were numerous questions raised. These included whether there was really a need for another development bank, whether the new bank would have sufficiently high environmental and social safeguards and be as transparent as the existing ones. This examines the AIIB in comparison to the existing multilateral development banks in Asia and in particular the ADB with its emphasis on infrastructure. The paper finds that there is certainly a need for more funding but it isn’t clear that it is best met by another multilateral.
    Keywords: Multilateral development banks; infrastructure development; development finance; Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Asian Development Bank; China; Japan
    JEL: F35 N25 O19
    Date: 2017–12–01
  13. By: Vidhan K. Goyal (Department of Finance, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Frank Packer (Bank for International Settlements, Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific, Hong Kong)
    Abstract: This paper examines the capital structure and financing decisions of firms in emerging Asia between 1991-2014. Neither the mean/median leverage nor the upper tails of the leverage distribution show any upward shift in recent years. On the whole, corporate leverage appears quite stable. The legal environment and quality of a country's institutions are important influences on corporate leverage decisions: firm characteristics such as asset tangibility and size that help to overcome information asymmetries are less important in countries with stronger institutions. During periods of expansive global monetary policy, firms in countries with stronger institutions raise more debt financing and invest more than other firms.
    Date: 2017–12
  14. By: Christoph Schmierer
    Abstract: Foreign direct investments (FDI) can have a very important function to accelerate the industrialization process of developing countries and transition economies. On the one hand they can cause an increase of industrial output and on the other, can transfer technology knowledge through FDI. Thus, host countries can profit from new technical knowledge through spillover effects and technology transfers from foreign affiliates. This thesis can give answers to the following questions: What are the mechanisms that trigger spillover effects and technology transfers? How can developing countries and transition economies use this knowledge to accelerate their industrialization process? To answer these questions, a conceptual guideline for the promotion of spillover effects has been developed. Furthermore a theoretical model has been created, which analyses the technology transfer from foreign export platform depending on the fraction of intermediate products sourced in the host country. The case studies of Ireland and Malaysia are used to illustrate the results of the theoretical model and conceptual guidelines.
    Keywords: export platform, foreign direct investment, spillover effects, technology transfer
    Date: 2017–10
  15. By: Daniel J. Henderson (University of Alabama); Christopher F. Parmeter (University of Miami); Liangjun Su (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: The present work uses semiparametric M-estimation to construct an estimator for a threshold parameter in a nonparametric regression model. Given that this parameter is only weakly identified, we develop a set of sufficient conditions whereby our semiparametric M-estimator is consistent and asymptotically normal. Our work extends the theory of Chen, Linton and Van Keilegom (2003) to settings where there is weak identification for a semiparametric model. A range of Monte Carlo simulations and three empirical examples (threshold, asymmetric time series and regression discontinuity) support the asymptotic developments.
    Keywords: Change Point, M-Estimation, Nonparametric Threshold Regression, Regression Discontinuity, Structural Change Publication Status: Submitted
    JEL: G14 G24
    Date: 2017–10–19
  16. By: Yuan Yuan; Tracy Xiao Liu; Chenhao Tan; Jie Tang
    Abstract: Gift giving is a ubiquitous social phenomenon, and red packets have been used as monetary gifts in Asian countries for thousands of years. In recent years, online red packets have become widespread in China through the WeChat platform. Exploiting a unique dataset consisting of 61 million group red packets and seven million users, we conduct a large-scale, data-driven study to understand the spread of red packets and the effect of red packets on group activity. We find that the cash flows between provinces are largely consistent with provincial GDP rankings, e.g., red packets are sent from users in the south to those in the north. By distinguishing spontaneous from reciprocal red packets, we reveal the behavioral patterns in sending red packets: males, seniors, and people with more in-group friends are more inclined to spontaneously send red packets, while red packets from females, youths, and people with less in-group friends are more reciprocal. Furthermore, we use propensity score matching to study the external effects of red packets on group dynamics. We show that red packets increase group participation and strengthen in-group relationships, which partly explain the benefits and motivations for sending red packets.
    Date: 2017–12
  17. By: Benita, Francisco (Singapore University of Technology and Design); Urzúa, Carlos M. (Tecnológico de Monterrey)
    Abstract: Human creativity is the most important economic resource. Yet, very few studies in the economic literature have attempted to evaluate the efficiency of creative sectors around the world. In that regard, this paper examines the efficiency of the production of creative goods in Mexico.
    Keywords: Creative industries, metropolitan areas, Mexico, DEA, 3Ts model, Malmquist productivity index
    JEL: C61 D24 O31 R12
    Date: 2017–04
  18. By: Tetsuji Okazaki (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo); Ken Onishi (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Naoki Wakamori (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: Excess production capacity has been a major concern in many countries, in particular, when an industry faces declining demand. Strategic interaction among firms might delay efficient scrappages of production capacity and policy interventions that eliminate such strategic incentives may improve efficiency. This paper empirically studies the effectiveness of policy interventions in such an environment, using plant-level data on the Japanese cement industry. Our estimation results show that a capacity coordination policy that forces firms to reduce their excessive production capacity simultaneously can effectively reduce excess capacity without distorting firms' scrappage decisions or increasing the market power of the firms.
    Date: 2017–12
  19. By: Malmström Rognes, Åsa (Department of Economic History, Uppsala University & The European Institute of Japanese Studies)
    Abstract: Official development assistance is being redefined and the calculation method updated. This is partly in response to meeting the financing needs for the new sustainable development goals and partly in response to the emergence of new donors whose policies and practice towards development assistance differs from Western donors. This paper traces development thinking and policies in the post-war era in general and examines Japan and China in particular as these countries have a different approach to development assistance and cooperation.
    Keywords: development; development theory; official development assistance; Japan; China; DAC committee
    JEL: F35 N25 O10
    Date: 2017–12–01

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